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Day 36: Key points from today's conference

Posted on April 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Todays conference was led by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, joined by the deputy chief scientific officer Angela McLean and Public Health England’s medical director Yvonne Doyle.

449 more coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded since yesterday up from 16,060 the day before. A total of 16,509 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Sunday, the Department of Health said

Key points to take away from today's speech are:

  • Sunak opens the briefing by getting straight to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) issue - he says the government has been "working hard" to make sure there is enough for NHS workers. He says the government is "working to resolve" the issue of a batch stuck in Turkey due to "unexpected delays". 

  • The chancellor announces that the job retention scheme opened today to help pay the wages of people furloughed has had applications from 140,000 firms. He says the money provided to them will help pay the wages for more than a million people.

  • Sunak says he wants to "protect as many people as possible in their existing jobs", help businesses stay afloat and those who are self-employed too.  He adds the Treasury has been "sowing the seeds of our ultimate recovery" - saying entrepreneurship will drive the UK's economy recovery. 

  • Angela McLean, the UK government's deputy chief scientific adviser, runs through the latest daily figures on transport use, hospital admissions and the global deaths comparisons.

  • On hospital admissions, she says the number of people in hospital who have tested positive “remains stable”. While well ahead of the rest of the country, the number of patients in London has fallen for seven consecutive days and she hopes that this will be “replicated” across the UK.

  • When questioned on lack of PPE Sunak says all medics "deserve to have the equipment they need to do their job safely", with Dr Yvonne Doyle confirming that 12 million pieces of it were delivered to 141 trusts over the weekend.

  • Quizzed on how the UK could emerge from its coronavirus lockdown, the chancellor will only say "we are not there yet" and the country should focus on current guidance, adding any other speculation "is wrong".

  • Dr Doyle is asked by Sky News' Beth Rigby about NHS staff's fear of PPE shortages. She says "I understand people's anxieties on the frontline when they are in a very uncertain situation".

  • The chancellor has it put to him that the Centre for Economics and Business Research has forecast every household will be £515 worse off every month for the next three months. He's asked what he makes of Labour's calls for Universal Credit to be paid quicker than five weeks, and the SNP's call for more help for the self-employed. Sunak says: "I feel confident saying we having taken extraordinary and unprecedented steps to provide as big a safety net for as many people as is practically possible."

To read a brief summary of last night's points and important measures click here.